During the pandemic, HP created an online platform to bring educational resources to children learning from home and developed a mobile-first campaign to promote it.
In early 2020, 1.5 billion students, families, and teachers around the world transitioned to virtual learning from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Having kids at home means higher demand for hands-on activities and productivity tools, so to help deliver resources to families, HP created the Print, Play & Learn platform.
Created in collaboration with education leaders, HP's platform provided hundreds of free printable activities for children ages 2 to 12. HP turned to PadSquad to help bring this platform to life through an interactive mobile-first campaign targeted at parents.
HP was armed with an innovative and valuable resource for its audience but was facing market turbulence in the midst of COVID-19 and the upcoming election. The brand needed a way to stand out and get its platform the visibility it deserved. With only static banner assets available, HP challenged PadSquad to develop a highly engaging mobile experience that would stand out, build awareness of the free platform, and drive traffic to the site by bringing the printouts to life across mobile devices.
With a dual objective to drive awareness and traffic, HP looked to metrics like engagement rate, clicks, and time spent on site to ultimately gauge the performance of the campaign.
Parents with kids in the house were the target audience for the Print, Play & Learn campaign. HP leveraged the PadSquad Data Marketplace to pinpoint its audience by looking at insights from past campaigns and learnings from third-party data partners to identify, message, and engage parents with kids in the home.
Using insights and data, HP was able to better identify parents with kids under 12, raising young families, using distance learning apps, who had a propensity to browse parenting, educational and activity related content on the mobile web.
In order to truly engage parents, HP needed to identify where they are consuming media and deliver the resources to them. With its sights set on creating an engaging experience on mobile for parents, PadSquad's creative studio brainstormed how to reduce steps, and bring the printouts directly to families within an interactive ad unit. The result was the highly engaging "Colorizer" format which brought the platform to life and allowed parents to test the printouts firsthand by tapping and dragging to color them in.
The custom Colorizer unit was distributed across relevant content targeted specifically to parents with children 12 and under. This targeted approach allowed HP to get in front of its specific audience and provide them with a resource during a time of need. The hypothesis was that this blend of art (interactive formats) and science (audience targeting) would have the greatest impact on awareness and traffic.
The Print, Play & Learn campaign was a response to the pandemic, making it the first year of this campaign and marketing effort. PadSquad is a proven partner of HP's and has run many successful previous campaigns for the brand. HP blended these past insights with fresh data to build its strategy and execution for this campaign, which delivered an engagement rate of 12 percent versus HP's cumulative engagement rate for past HP campaigns of 5 percent.
Overall Campaign Execution:
The HP Print, Play & Learn Colorizer campaign was a dedicated mobile advertising execution. The decision to go all in on mobile was driven by the size of the budget and target audience of parents with young kids. The PadSquad Colorizer execution had a budget of $23,000 which was narrowly focused on reaching parents on the dominant device they use to organize their lives and families, especially during a global pandemic.
HP challenged PadSquad to work within the confines of the limited budget to design and build an immersive creative experience using only the standard, static assets the company had available. Using the best of mobile technology, the creative design team built a touch-enabled interactive ad that displayed coloring pages from the Print, Play & Learn landing page, and allowed parents to select different colored pencils to digitally fill in the worksheet. The uniquely mobile unit would ultimately drive engagement and traffic for the brand.
Mobile sat at the heart of the entire Print, Play & Learn Colorizer execution. The initiative was specifically designed for mobile devices and mobile first audiences. A deep understanding of mobile creative design, and mobile consumer behaviors was required to build a successful and engaging campaign.
The key to developing creative for any campaign is to build for the specific device it will appear on. This was even more important as HP faced a crowded 2020 content and media environment. It was imperative for HP to use the best of native, mobile technologies to build an experience that would engage parent, all while providing them with a service they needed.
Mobile provides unique opportunities to engage with audiences, most notably through the power of touch. The aim was to harness touch to provide a tactile experience for parents that would be memorable and ultimately drive awareness of HP's new platform. The brand's creative team designed the innovative Colorizer unit to bring the Print, Play & Learn platform to life through this sensory experience. Through mobile, HP was able to replicate the physical experience of coloring a print-out. The unit allowed parents to use their fingers to select coloring utensils and color in pictures from the platform. This hands-on experience was effective at piquing interest and pushing parents through the funnel to the website to print.
In the face of shifting work and school culture in 2020, the printing category was in the midst of a boom. What normally was printed at the office or at school now needed to be printed from home. Additionally, having kids at home meant higher demand for hands-on activities and productivity tools. In the spring of 2020, there were 55 million students in the U.S. learning from home, and the market was looking at a 50 percent increase in home printer sales.
By allowing parents to test out the printables directly in the high impact Colorizer ad unit they were able to have some fun and learn more about the available resources on the new Print, Play & Learn platform. The unit was a remarkable success at delivering on awareness and traffic objectives. It captured the attention of parents, delivering an engagement rate six times higher than PadSquad's benchmark. And parents were still eager for more; when given the chance, parents seized the opportunity to get creative, tapping nearly 1,000 times to start the experience over.
HP kept parents engaged within the unit, but also drove over 7,000 clicks to the Print, Play & Learn landing page. PadSquad drove stronger site performance for HP than their advertising efforts with Facebook did for the same initiative. Visitors driven by PadSquad spent an average of two minutes and 25 seconds on the site, while visitors driven from Facebook spent one minute and 56 seconds.
The campaign was effective at increasing awareness and positioning of HP's at-home printing offerings, directionally contributing to the increasing home printer boom and HP's stronghold in the market.
The results of the campaign showed that consumers were receptive to the campaign and intrigued by HP's new platform. The stay-at-home nature of 2020 created an ideal environment for the Print, Play & Learn campaign. The engagement, clicks and time spent for this campaign indicated parents were in need of resources for their kids, and found them in the new Print, Play & Learn platform.
In the end, the blend of art (interactive formats) and science (audience targeting) effectively generated awareness and drove traffic to the Print, Play & Learn platform better than key platforms like Facebook. The key difference-maker was an innovative creative format that played to the strengths of the mobile device and deeply engaged parents through the power of touch.